Gelf Magazine: Boxing continues to enjoy cinematic minting—latest in The Fighter—even as it loses luster as an American spectacle, or as the career of choice for young and hungry athletes. How do you explain this dichotomy?
George Kimball: Don’t even get me started on The Fighter. I covered pretty much Micky Ward’s entire career. I’d have been much more comfortable with the film if they’d just changed the names and presented it as a work of fiction. There are so many things in the movie that didn’t happen, or at least didn’t happen the way they claimed they happened, and so many actual aspects of Micky’s career—the three Gatti fights, for instance—that did happen but aren’t in the movie that it was fraudulent, in my view. It was at the very least bad history. Claiming it was a true story, or even “based on a true story,” is ridiculous. The worst part of it is that most moviegoers now think Micky actually did win a world title—the welterweight title, yet—in the Shea Neary fight. To me, the most salient aspect of Ward’s career was the fact that he is so universally respected as a blue-collar, blood-and-guts fighter despite the fact that he lost the only world-title fight he was ever in.
Kimball and Thomas Hauser will be speaking at Varsity Letters tomorrow night in the Village.